Russian guards kidnap Georgian schoolboy near Tskinvali ABL

After the boy was late from school, his sister Natia Gogichashvili called his mobile and she was told in Russian the boy was at a police station. Photo by IPN, 17 Sep 2016 - 14:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Georgian schoolboy has been illegally detained by Russian-controlled border guards stationed at the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) separating de facto Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region from the rest of Georgia.

The boy has been identified as 17-year-old Joni Gogichashvili.

Gogichashvili is a resident of Sobisi Village in Gori municipality. The teenager disappeared yesterday when he went to school in the neighbouring Bershueti village.

When the teenager did not return home from school, his sister Natia Gogichashvili called his cellphone.

The phone was answered by someone speaking Russian, who told me my brother was with them at the police station near Tsinagari and Orchosani villages,” Natia Gogichashvili said.

Since then the boy’s mobile phone has been out of reach.

Tsinagori and Orchosani are Russian-occupied Georgian villages in Akhalgori municipality.

Gogichashvili’s classmates said after school a group of friends went to a church in the outskirt of Bershueti village. That was where the teenager was kidnapped from.

Authorities said it was understood the teenager had been taken to a detention centre in Tskhinvali and charged with illegally crossing the so-called border.

Kakha Kaladze, Georgia’s former Vice Prime Minister and Secretary General of the ruling Georgian Dream party said the Government would do its best to free the young man.

All appropriate agencies will engage [in the situation] and everything will be done to free the detainee as soon as possible,” Kaladze said.

Meanwhile the European Union’s Monitoring Mission (UUMM) in Georgia was also informed about the kidnapping and negotiations were underway to return the teenager to his home.